Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Writer's Mission Statement

Frequently, writers who join my writing group ask, “How do I make my writing a priority?”  These are mothers with young children, or men with 40-hour work weeks, or individuals faced with any number of urgent demands. Whenever I hear other writers respond to this question, the advice is usually to create a personal writing space, to pre-plan daily time for writing, and, most of all, to stick to the plan.

The response, however, begs the question:  What exactly is it that enables us to make our writing a priority? How do we create that writing space, schedule writing onto our daily calendars, and then actually write? The simple fact is that writing requires motivation, which differs for every writer. Some writers want to be published. Others want to share a particular story, one that only they can write. Many enjoy the creative process. But making writing a priority means knowing your reasons for writing. And for that, a personal mission statement can help.

Mission statements are used by businesses to express a company’s values and goals.  Individual mission statements reflect personal aspirations and principles, and a writer’s statement spells out specific writing ambitions and ethics. The process involves thinking about one’s writing – what one hopes to achieve, about past and future work, about our motivations as writers, and about the kinds of writing and writers we admire– and then writing down anything and everything that comes to mind.

What is brainstormed on paper becomes the basis for your mission statement.  Is there a thread tying together all your work?  Is one particular writing ambition tugging at your heart and mind?  What patterns do you see in your interests and approaches?  Take what stands out and use it to write a statement about your goals and ambitions.  Maybe you have a specific deadline.  Maybe you’re striving for consistency, or to improve your craft.

Whatever you discover, will help you clarify your motivations and your mission as a writer. ‘How do you make writing a priority?” The answer is, “You will make the how happen when you know why.”

Paula Castner is a mother of three and a co-founder of Seven Bridge Writers' Collaborative as well as a freelance writer, writing and baking workshop facilitator, and drama director. She receives emails at



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